During his adolescence, Boston Celtics big man Tacko Fall would consume up to 7,000 calories a day. According to reports from his prep days in Florida, he was eating whole pizzas covered in chicken and hamburger patties to keep weight on a frame that would stretch to 7’7”.
The strength and conditioning program at the University of Central Florida were put to the test given Fall’s stature and unique talent. Throughout his four years on campus, his eating habits vastly improved and keeping weight on was no longer a problem thanks to consistency in the weight room.
Now, in his second season with the Celtics, Fall has recently embraced a Flexitarian diet. While still adjusting to the new eating habits, he now only focuses on the quality of food he’s placing in his body and not the overall amount.
Fall talks about his partnership with Lightlife and how it sparked a change in his eating habits and making sure his body is properly fueled, the difficulties of maintaining the lifestyle change on the road and his personal “Tacko Tuesday” recipe ahead of Cinco De Mayo.
What made you move toward a more flexitarian diet and when did you decide to make the change?
Last year, my team came to me about the potential to have a partnership with Lightlife. At first, I was a little bit skeptical because I hadn’t really tried anything vegan before. They sent me a couple of samples and I tried it and it tasted pretty good. From there, we started working together. They sent more products and I started to really like it. From that part on, I started to venture more towards that kind of diet. The initial problems I thought would be the taste and would I be able to get all my nutritional needs met. Once all my concerns were addressed, I started looking into it more and at that time, I was also looking to cut the amount of red meat I was consuming, so it was all perfect timing.
So far, the product that I use is the ground beef. My mom has also tried it, and she made some good meals with it. They also have burgers they’ve sent, and they have breakfast options like sausages and all that kind of stuff. They have different options that taste awesome. I really encourage people to go out there and check them out.
Being 7’7”, you obviously need a lot more nutrients than the standard NBA player. In terms of calories per day, are you still focused on a set number of calories per day?
Now, I really don’t look at the number of calories I eat. It’s more about the quality of what I eat. Someone mentioned to me that I used to consume 7,000 calories a day back in high school but back then, my appetite was off the chain because I was still growing and definitely needed a lot of food. Once I got to college and especially once I got to the pros, my diet started to change, especially once I got to the weight that I wanted to be at. I definitely didn’t want to put on more weight, and I just became smarter with what I ate. Now, it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality. It’s better to eat small meals throughout the day rather than big meals.
Have you found it more difficult to help maintain this lifestyle on the road?
Absolutely, but fortunately the team gives us food on the road. Since COVID begin, things have been a little limited but, for the most part, they’ve done good with feeding us. Sometimes, we’ll get into a city real late and those are the times that it is kind of hard. The only options you really have is room service and you just pick the best food you can if you’re really hungry. Besides that, I think I’ve been managing it pretty well.
What’s the difference you’ve felt since making this change both when you’re on the court and just in general in like going through workouts and your daily life?
Right now, I can’t say because it’s not like I’ve tried it for a long period of time. The other day, I was just talking with Jaylen [Brown] and Jabari [Parker] and asked about how they felt after becoming vegan. Jabari told me at first, it was hard and took a while for his body to get adjusted to it but after a while, he got used to it. It might take me a while to see the real benefits of it. I definitely know from the people around me who’ve tried it that it’s definitely a different feeling once your body gets fully use to it.
Can you describe your typical pregame routine as far as what time you’re getting up, what you’re typically eating for breakfast, pre-game, and postgame?
Usually I wake up, get ready for shootaround. I get to the gym early so I can get some extra work in before shootaround. We don’t get to practice much because of how the schedule is setup. I want to make sure I can get as much work in as possible. After that, I’ll get a protein shake from the kitchen at the practice facility. I’ll work out for about an hour. Sometimes, I’ll lift before the shootaround also. After that, I’ll come home and order some food. After that, I’ll take about a two-hour nap and head to the arena early to get my work in again. I’ll lift if I didn’t in the morning and I’ll shower and listen to some music before the game. I started praying before the game as well — so I’ll do that and then it’s game time.
Tacko Fall Zippy Grilled Corn Tacos (Courtesy of Lightlife)